Landfall

By: Dawn Lee McKenna

For Chelsey

who is loved





Wednesday, August 12th

10:36am


Maggie laid on the table for two pounding heartbeats, then slid off and onto her feet, and scrambled over to Sky’s chair.

“Mom, what just happened?” Sky asked, her voice near hysterical.

“I don’t know,” Maggie managed to croak, squatting behind Sky’s chair and furiously working the ropes that bound her wrists.

“What did he do?”

“I don’t know, Sky!”

The wind was whistling like a train outside, and it seemed impossible that it could be louder than it had already been. Maggie looked up toward the kitchen window as something small but hard hit it, and she caught Kyle’s eye. He was staring at the front door, his eyes wide.

“I’m coming, Kyle,” Maggie said. He looked at her, but didn’t say anything.

Sky wiggled her fingers. “Hurry, Mom!”

“Hold still, baby, please,” Maggie said.

She yanked the ropes free and jumped up as Sky pulled her arms around to the front. They were stiff from hours of being bound behind her, and she rolled them gingerly.

“Sky,” I need you to grab the Glock,” Maggie said, as she squatted behind Kyle and started working on the ropes. His thin wrists were bleeding, and the ropes had left welts on them that made Maggie want to scream.

Sky ran over to the kitchen counter and picked up the Glock, where it lay with the Mossberg and her great-grandfather’s .38. “Do you want me to bring it to you?”

“No, I need it for you,” she said. “Do you remember how to use it?”

“Yeah, but…I guess. Why not the .38?”

“This is not the time for a revolver, baby,” Maggie answered. “Just take it. I want you take it, and I want you to take Kyle, and I want you guys to go in my room, and you don’t come out unless I come get you.”

“Mom, wait—”

“You don’t come out unless I come get you, do you understand me?” Maggie yelled.

“Yes.”

A branch slammed into the window behind Sky, and she ducked instinctively, but the glass didn’t break. The branch fell away again as she straightened up and grabbed the rounds from the counter and shoved them into her pocket.

Maggie finally pulled Kyle’s wrists free, and she rubbed them for just a second before she pulled him up from the chair. “Kyle, you go with Sky, and you guys stay in there. Do you hear me?”

“Yeah,” he said, his voice a croak.

“Go!” Maggie barked at Sky, and the kids ran down the hallway. As soon as she heard their steps, Coco started barking and scratching at the door again. Maggie watched Sky open the door, watched the kids go in and slam the door behind them, then she ran over to the kitchen counter.

She glanced up at the front door several times as she loaded the Mossberg, shoved a couple of extra rounds in her shorts pocket, and then ran over to the door. The floor was wet from when he had burst through, and she slipped and nearly went down before catching herself.

She put an ear to the door, but it was a ridiculous thing to do. On the other side was nothing but noise, and she could hear nothing beyond the pounding of the rain on the deck.

She took a deep breath, slammed back the action on the shotgun, and flung open the door.

Boudreaux was in the yard, a few feet from the bottom of the stairs. He was almost knee deep in water from the creek, and the water closest to him was colored a deep, dark red.

He looked up at her, the wind buffeting him and pushing him, his hair whipping wildly.

Maggie raised the shotgun and felt a catch in her throat as she looked into those eyes, so deeply blue even from this distance. She hadn’t wanted him to be the one, and she felt, ridiculously, the heaviness of disappointment in her chest.

“I wish you hadn’t come here, Mr. Boudreaux.”





Tuesday, August 11th

8:10am – 28 hours earlier


Her name was Faye. According to the Tallahassee paper, Tropical Storm Faye had visited herself upon Cuba without too much mayhem, but might be upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane in the near future. If so, she was expected to make landfall somewhere between New Orleans and Biloxi.

Bennett Boudreaux set the paper aside, and poured himself another chicory coffee. He’d moved from Houma, LA to Apalachicola, FL decades before Hurricane Katrina, and he still enjoyed a good hurricane. He hoped they’d at least get some nice thunderstorms from Faye as she passed through the Gulf.

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